I decided this week that I should be an expert on something—especially after all these years on the planet. I have recently seen or heard self-proclaimed mavens on lint, Scott Baio and the Guatemalan ringtailed bat.
As a man of a certain age ( and many botched dates/romances), I'm ready to anoint myself a dating expert. Now ladies, don't get your Jockeys in a knot. Dating tips for females will be coming in this space ... soon.
1. Do your homework.
First, ascertain if she's married. This can be a serious deterrent to dating. I once was totally thrown for a loop here; I didn't effect any Holmesian investigation. An addendum to this: in today's climate, she might like other women. Walk away, Rene. And don't ask her, "Can I watch?"
Get to know her friends. Be discreet, but this is the best way to find out if she's: a) involved with someone or just casually dating. b) possibly interested in you (tread lightly here). c) a member of a cult that worships slasher films.
2. Put your face in the place.
This is a corollary to #1. Does she go out with co-workers (much better than just "the girls") to a happy hour or somesuch event? Then you can hang out there, too (NOT every week), and possibly get to know her AND do further research, such as the cult thing. Be very casual with her at such an occasion. Women NEVER give too much away. Neither should you.
3. DOING THE DEED, STEP A:
This is much better executed in person than on the phone. You can read her better. Following is the most salient piece of advice in this screed: Do not pin her down to a specific calendar date. Actually, women love it (if they're not interested) when you do this; they can just say they're busy. Even if the gal thinks you're a knuckle-dragging, oversexed troglodyte, it's much easier for them to claim a calendar conflict than say, "I'd rather go out with Harvey Fierstein." And, by the by, NO EMAIL OR TEXTING. Not until she says "yes."
If you simply say, "I'd love to see you sometime, maybe grab a bite," 99% of the time she'll say, "When?" That's when you parry back with, "Oh, anytime you're free. No big deal." As soon as you hear any stuttering, halting speech or the Death Word ("Well ..."), say, "Ok. Thanks anyway." Then execute a casual one-eighty, stroll away ... and let her come after you. If she doesn't, write this poor soul off.
4. STEP B: AN (ALMOST) FOOLPROOF APPROACH:
Offer to meet her somewhere. I almost hate to be giving this valuable tip away. It works, nigh infallibly, especially if she is on the fence about a date with you. Now, she can leave whenever she wants, especially if you turn out to be a world-class douche (which you aren't of course, if you're reading this).
Actual women have told me, after they were totally enchanted by me, that they admired this maneuver.
5. Judging the response ...
Only .00008% of females on this planet will answer you with: "WOW! I'd love to. I was hoping you would ask me out!" So, forget about that sort of feedback. Be happy with a simple assent. BUT DON'T TAKE THIS TO THE BANK! (See #6)
Once again, the word: "Well ..." when uttered by a woman, almost never has anything good following it. This augurs ultimate failure. Ditto any wavering or halting speech. Back off, boyo.
Also: Accept the "yellow light" and try, try again. What's this? A tactic that too few women understand—or employ. This means that they have a cogent reason why they are declining and do want to see you. An example: "Oh, I'm sorry. I'm in a wedding that weekend and I have the rehearsal dinner that night. Can we try for another time?" This is NOT a turndown; it's merely a woman, manning up. If anything, this should boost her stock value.
CAVEAT REQUESTOR: Beware the "Kleenex Alibi." This comes from a gal who's totally not into you, who's too inauthentic to give you a polite "no." Instead, she gins up a tissue-thin rejoinder. Witness this actual KA I received upon asking a woman out on a value-laden, VIP-style date: "Well ... [see?] I'm going on vacation three days after that, and I have to pack ..." This merits an immediate demotion to the Do Not Call list.
6. Holleran's Law: The Unfair, Yet Simple Truth
When you ask someone out, you are tipping your hand. You are interested. She will probably be flattered, even if she's more into her Shih Tzu than you. However, the converse is not true: Just because she says yes to a chick flick and the Olive Garden afterward (don't you DARE--see Part 2), doesn't even means she thinks you're the Hunk o' the Month. She might just want a free, inedible, faux-Italian meal.
Finally, the ultimate Truth:
AS SOON AS YOU HEAR THE WORD "FRIEND"—IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM, YOU ARE TOAST.
You are now in Platonic Prison—Alcatraz is easier to worm your way out of. Fine, be her friend, Mr. Sensitive. Listen to Broadway albums with her; have a fondue party. Just remember, the F word is a terminal diagnosis when it comes to dating. You'd have better luck brown-bagging a Whopper to a PETA convention.
COMING SOON: Part 2—After She Says "Okay, I guess."